Saturday 18 December 2010

The Bishop of Lincoln - The Rt. Rev. Dr John Saxbee Christmas Message.

Christmas: Hoping against Hype

It surprises me that TV Soaps have to invent a Christmas story-line to bolster their ratings year by year. After all, the Christmas story itself has all the ingredients they need. An unexpected pregnancy with paternity issues at stake. The birth of a baby in less than ideal circumstances with visitors bearing exotic gifts from near and far. The friendly pub landlord is not backed up by community leaders who would rather see this dysfunctional family off their manor as soon as possible. Enough there to keep a Soap in story-lines without needing to invent new hyped-up versions.

Indeed, in many ways, Christmas spells hype in our current culture. But, of course, Christmas actually spells Hope. Hope can be in short supply when jobs are threatened, homes are at risk of re-possession and some of the poorest people in our society become ever poorer.

Yet the birth of Jesus counters a culture of hopelessness. It is about a new life being born into the world and that is itself a sign of hope. But when that new life is nothing less than the very life of God born anew in the world, then that changes everything into positive possibility - nothing can be quite the same again. Living takes on a new meaning as we seek to live in accordance with our Lord's example, whilst in the light of His death and resurrection, death can never again have the last word.

In life and in death there is renewed hope because of the birth of that babe in Bethlehem. No need for new story-lines when Christmas already tells the greatest story ever told.

This comes with my warmest good wishes to you all, and prayers for God's Blessing as you prepare to celebrate this great festival of hope and light and joy.

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